This article is written from the perverse point of view of the papal accusers. Their view is that Popes can teach grave error, can teach heresy, encourage apostasy and idolatry, can lose the faith entirely. Their view is that the Pope and the body of Bishops, even gathered in an Ecumenical Council, can also teach grave error and go astray. Their view is that the Church Herself can defect. For the Church cannot be said to be indefectible if Popes, the body of Bishops, and Ecumenical Councils can lead the faithful astray.
So how can the Church be fixed? First, they hope for an end to the Pontificate of Pope Francis. But since any Pope, supposedly, can err gravely and can fail in faith, how does having a new Pope fix the problems of the Church? Suppose, best case scenario for them, a conservative Pope is elected.
What does this conservative Pope do to “fix” the situation? If Pope Francis resigns, the new Pope could put him on trial, just as the Democrats are putting President Trump on trial after his term in office ended. But recall what happened with the cadaver trial. Saint Robert Bellarmine sums up the situation:
“Stephen invalidated the acts of Pope Formosus, his predecessor, and commanded those ordained by him to be ordained again…. Pope John IX afterward invalidated the acts of Stephen VI and approved the acts of Formosus. But a little afterward, Sergius III again invalidated the acts of Formosus, and hence also of John, and approved the acts of Stephen.” [Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 214). Mediatrix Press. Kindle Edition.]
This type of running battle between successive Popes has happened in the past, and it benefited no person or group. The Francis critics would not be exonerated by a conservative Pope who changes some of the decisions of Pope Francis, or who turns the Church in a conservative direction, after the liberal reign of Francis. And in any case, no Pope has ever invalidated the teachings of a previous Pope — not to any great extent. A Pope can err to a limited extent in his non-infallible Magisterium, and so a subsequent Pope or Council can correct him. But Popes cannot err to a grave extent, so grave correction is not possible.
But from the view of the Francis critics, any Pope can teach or commit heresy. If the next Pope is conservative, does that mean he cannot teach or commit heresy? The papal accusers have made grave accusations against Pius IX and XII (see “Infiltration”), and also against Pope Saint Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Peter himself. Why believe the next Pope, if Popes cannot be trusted to teach truth?
First, they accused Pope Francis. Then they accused many other Popes. Then they accused Vatican II, and Vatican I. So even a conservative Pope or Council does not solve the problem they have created by distrusting the Magisterium itself.
No matter what a conservative Pope teaches, even if he were to call a conservative Council and teach whatever the papal accusers like, from their point of view, all those teachings can be heresy. They will of course not accuse a conservative Pope and Council of heresy for teaching what they themselves think is true. But anyone else can use the words of the papal accusers against them. The new hypothetical Pope and Council can be accused of heresy. Why not? If Vatican I and II can be accused, and if so many Popes and Pope-Saints can be accused, if the Church Herself can be accused of having been infiltrated by evil, then no Pope or Council can withstand the same accusations.
The Church becomes unfixable, if you believe the papal accusers. They have painted themselves into a corner. They have accused Popes, Councils, the body of Bishops, and the Church Herself of defecting from the Faith. So if the Church were “fixed” by some Pope or Council teaching what the papal accusers like, that is no solution. For the fix can be accused of heresy, of apostasy, of idolatry (of idolizing conservatism), just as past Popes and Councils have been accused.
The papal accusers have devised a version of the Church that is irredeemable. If Popes can teach and commit heresy; if Ecumenical Councils can do the same; if the Church can be infiltrated by evil, then no Pope or Council can solve the problem.
And this is why the papal accusers are so angry and malicious one minute, and depressed and hopeless the next. See Steve Skojec’s repeated comments at OnePeterFive. He has no hope because he has no faith. He set up a digital platform to attack the Catholic Faith, and he succeeded. He has led tens of thousands of souls away from the true Church. He has convinced them that Popes and Councils and the Bishops even as a body cannot be trusted.
Who do you want to be Pope, Steve? Do you want a Pope Vigano or a Pope Schneider? They are heretics and schismatics. They have done nothing but attack the true Church and attempt to destroy the Faith. Having convinced their fellow Catholics that the Church is evil and that Popes and Councils cannot be trusted, what do they hope for?
Do you want a Pope who will teach that Popes can teach heresy? The world would laugh at the Church. Our appeal to the world that the Church is the sole Ark of Salvation would be absurd if the Church could err to the extent that the papal accusers claim. Bishop Athanasius Schneider thinks only Catholics are saved, and that even heretics and schismatics are not saved. And he is a heretic and schismatic. It is patently absurd to tell the world that many of our Popes have taught heresy and have committed apostasy from the true faith, and heresy and idolatry, and that Councils have also erred gravely — but that the only way to be saved is to believe the teaching of Popes and Councils.
No Pope is going to give the papal accusers what they want. No Pope is going to tell them they are right, and all the Popes and Councils they accuse are wrong.
Do you know what the real solution to the problem is? The next Pope or Council excommunicates the papal accusers, and the faithful continue believing what the Popes and Councils teach. The next conservative Pope confirms the teaching of Vatican I that no Pope or Council can never teach heresy or grave error, and that every Pope has the charism of truth and never-failing faith, and that even the body of Bishops, in communion with the Pope, has the same charism, as a body. And those who disagree are expelled from the Church, just as Pope Francis said.
Those who reject Vatican II are no different from those who rejected Vatican I. And the latter departed from the true Faith to form their own lost fake Church, which now ordains women priests.
Skojec “the lost” — “If there’s one question that has come up over the years of covering the crisis in the Church, again and again, it’s this: what do we do now? I’ve come to realize that we are, in many respects, through the looking glass when it comes to the state of Catholicism. The crisis is, for all intents and purposes (from our limited perspectives) likely to remain a permanent fixture in our lifetimes…. But we have to accept that by and large the goose is well and truly cooked, the dead horse well and truly beaten, and I’m well and truly out of bad clichés to use in this paragraph…. but this loss of the Church to hostile forces that I’ve been describing. It’s not a thing that can be fixed by a new pope or even a new council.”
What a faithless hopeless leader he is. He does nothing, month after month, year after year, but attack the Popes and Bishops and Councils, and provide a platform for others to do the same. Then he does fund raising drives. What is the money for? He runs a blog. Is he paying people to write these articles of extreme heresy and schism? Is he paying the authors who attack the Church, the Popes, and the Councils? That’s worse.
Who in their right mind looks to Steve Skojec or anyone at 1P5 for guidance? Their version of Catholicism claims that Popes and Councils can err gravely. And that means the Church can go astray and can’t ever be set right. For any new Pope or Council, who from the point of view of the papal accusers teaches “truth”, can be accused of heresy. The faithful have no way of knowing if the new Donald-Trump-like Pope is also a heretic, apostate, and idolater like Francis supposedly was, like Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint Paul VI and Pope Saint John XXIII supposedly were.
The accusers of Pope Francis wanted a strong case against him. So they firmly established in the minds of their audience that Popes can teach heresy and can fail in faith gravely, and so can Councils. Then they succeeded in turning many away from Francis. But they are left hopeless and faithfulness. No new Pope can save them because conservatism is not a guarantee of truth. Why can’t the next conservative Pope be a heretic or apostate or idolater? If Francis can be, if Vatican II can be, then there is no fixing the Church.
The First Vatican Council and the ordinary universal Magisterium teach that each Pope has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. No Pope can teach grave error, not even in his non-infallible teaching. No Pope can fail in faith gravely. No Ecumenical Council can teach grave error. Even the body of Bishops, though only as a body, has this charism of truth and of never-failing faith. No Pope has ever been a heretic.
All these papal accusers think that Trump is falsely accused. But they don’t believe any Pope can be falsely accused. They accept every accusation against every Pope from Peter to Francis. The only persons they think are indefectible are themselves. They have idolized their own minds, and as a result, they end up like Skojec, bereft of faith and hope, without love of God or neighbor, without the state of grace. For if you do not have faith, you do not have love or hope.
Some of these papal accusers may have an implicit faith, despite grave sins against Faith by heresy and schism. Perhaps these objective mortal sin are not also actual mortal sins. But they are a hair’s breadth away from losing love, faith, and hope. You don’t accuse the Church of having gone astray along with many Popes and most Bishops, and then claim to have faith in the Church as the body of Christ and the Ark of Salvation. When you attack the Faith, the Holy Spirit grieves.
For those who have faith, simply believe that no Pope can teach or commit heresy. Believe that each and every Pope, and the body of Bishops, and the Ecumenical Councils have the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. Trust the teaching of the sole Ark of Salvation. Trust Her guidance. Trust in the body of Christ. Trust in the Vicar of Christ. Don’t ask for an explanation for each accusation, as to why it is false. Believe.
I don’t see any crisis at all in the Church, except an illusory one.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.